Heritage Railway

GREAT STEAM ENGINEERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY PART FIVE: THE 1870s

Although the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement was first used in the USA in 1836 and in the 19th century 85% of US express locomotives were of this type, the 4-4-0 had been slow to catch on in Britain; most of the earlier ones being tank engines. The GWR had a few broad gauge 4-4-0s, but the first outside-cylindered 4-4-0s had been designed by William Bouch for the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1860.

The inside-cylindered 4-4-0 became the classic British express locomotive of the Victorian period but the type did not appear until 1871, when it was introduced in Scotland by Thomas Wheatley of the North British Railway (NBR). The use of inside cylinders results in a steadier engine, less prone to oscillation at speed and was also felt to give a locomotive of tidier external appearance.

Wheatley had become locomotive superintendent of the NBR in 1867. In seven years, he provided the NBR with 185 new engines; but only eight express passenger ones.

In 1871, two 4-4-0s – Nos. 224 and 264 – were built at Cowlairs in Glasgow, forming the 224 class. A leading bogie with small disc wheels without spokes was chosen because of the many sharp curves on the NBR system.

No. 224 was the first inside-frame inside-cylinder 4-4-0 to run in Great Britain, the next being the 6 class on the Glasgow & South Western Railway two years later. The 4-4-0 with inside frames and inside cylinders, became widespread across most of Great Britain, with the GWR being the

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